If you remember, in “The Persona of Results”, we reflected on Arthurian Legend and spoke about the 2 primary and 5 archetypal personas that govern all you do. And we considered how you could consciously use these archetypal ‘personas’ to guide your actions to achieve the best possible results.
One version of the story of King Arthur and his Knights’ Quest for the Holy Grail refers to a Fisher King (who may or may not be King Arthur) who is wounded when he finds and reaches for the Holy Grail. As soon as the wounding happens, the Fisher King loses sight of the Grail and takes to his bed in great suffering.
One day, a Fool or court jester comes to him. He sees not a King but a suffering man and asks what is wrong. “I’m thirsty”, the Fisher King says. The Fool grabs the Grail, fills it with water and hands it to him. The Fisher King is instantly healed. He quickly realises that he is holding the Holy Grail and asks: “How did a Fool find what none of my knights could?” “I don’t know”, the Fool answers, “I only knew that you were thirsty.”
In the Middle Ages, the position of the Fool was an incongruous one. He could tell anyone anything he liked without suffering the consequences. In the tale of the Fisher King described above, the Fool holds the Grail without suffering the consequences because, unlike the King, he has nothing to gain or lose. The Fool has attained quickly in ignorance and simplicity what the King has failed to find with a lifetimes’ supply of power and intellect.
Throughout Arthurian legend, the Fool archetype is the one who represents wisdom. And this wisdom is gained when the Fool is in touch with his intuition, able to trust in the present and willing to eschew skepticism and past experience. This ability for wisdom enables the Fool to challenge conventional thinking and to inspire a view of the world from a different perspective.
The Fool and The King are polar opposites. The King inspires a vision of the external possibilities based on his experience of the past. The Fool urges a vision of your internal possibilities by challenging your perception of the past. The Fool has no attachment to the future or the past – only to the wisdom of the Self within.
Both King and Fool are crucial to the results you want to achieve.
The King is the leader and the visionary. (He does this in conjunction with the Queen who translates vision into action.)
It is the Fool who coaches and challenges the untapped genius within you to perceive that vision and translate it into action. Without the Fool, the King cannot overcome his basic flaw – the inability to perceive the true nature of things (right seeing); and the Queen cannot overcome her basic flaw – the inability to act with integrity (right action). It is the Fool who is needed to come from a place of curiosity with 3 questions:
- WHY are you doing this? (What is the meaning/purpose/intention or your actions?)
This question is intended for your inner King (or you’re your organisation’s CEO or board of directors or leaders) so that he/they can lead the vision or Quest to be managed by the Queen and executed by the Knights.
- WHAT are your actions? (What will you do to create reality from this vision?)
This question is intended for your inner Queen (or your organisation’s team of managers) so that they can plan the actions in a pragmatic, purposeful and integrous way.
- HOW will you undertake this? (How will you do this?)
This question is intended for your Knights (or your company’s team of workers) so that they can begin to execute the actions and fulfil the vision.
The Fool is a powerful role. As with the legendary ancient court circles, the Fool is only valuable when the King and Queen provide essential counterpoints. Too much coaching (both of the support and challenge variety) can leave your organisation, your team or indeed you with too little leadership and vision; and not enough planning and execution.
However, when you have a good Fool in your organisation, or allied to you as a professional support, you can achieve anything. And a ‘good Fool’ is one who will challenge your perceptions, encourage you to think beyond your unconscious boundaries and spur you on to uncover the genius within.